The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the only ones getting media attention this Super Bowl season. Labor talks have kicked off, and a formal bargaining session with both “negotiating” teams is set for this Saturday, one day before Super Bowl XLV.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith met on Monday and scheduled a formal bargaining session for Saturday. The current oollective bargaining agreement expires March 4.
Issues to be discussed include redistributing the league’s revenues and adding two more regular season games, increasing the season from 16 games to 18 games. A rookie wage scale and benefits for former players are also on the table.
Failure to reach a new deal could result in a lockout, which could put hundreds of millions of dollars at risk, according to Jeff Pash, the NFL's lead in-house negotiator.
The union tried to take preemptive action in the event of a lockout. They filed a grievance that teams pay health insurance premiums for active players beyond March 3, even if there is no new CBA to replace the expiring one. They also requested that money from TV contract, $4 billion, be put in escrow if there is a lockout. They were denied both times.